Thunder coach Scott Brooks spent the first five minutes of his post-game interview session sharing the particulars of why his team lost 108-103 to the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon inside Oklahoma City Arena.
Suddenly, he downshifted to share his overall perspective.
“With the way we played and the way they played, we’re a good team,” Brooks said. “You can’t take that away from us. We’re a good team. We played a good team. We played it down to the last seconds of the game. I’m disappointed, but I think we could have beaten this team tonight.”
The Thunder took a 103-102 lead with 34.3 seconds left, but didn’t score again as the Heat converted two offensive rebounds into five decisive points.
“I think we had the game won,” said Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who buried a 19-footer to give the Thunder its final lead. “We don’t take moral victories here. We wanted to win that game. We had the game and we just didn’t (finish). Moral victories have been out the door for two years now.”
Brooks repeatedly mentioned the “little things” that cost the Thunder (30-17) what could have been its seventh straight home victory, but this game likely was decided roughly an hour before the noon tipoff.
That’s when the Heat (33-14) revealed its “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would start alongside each other for the first time since Jan. 12.
Bosh had missed the previous four games with a left ankle sprain, Wade was nursing a bruised right wrist and both were considered doubtful for the contest.
Instead, the trio suddenly re-appeared and combined for 75 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, six steals and four blocked shots while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
The Thunder’s threesome of Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green countered with 77 points, 28 rebounds, 12 assists, eight steals and two blocked shots, but struggled at 38.1-percent shooting from the field that included 27.3 percent (9 for 33) in the second half.
The Miami trio was not without error, committing 15 turnovers compared to seven for the Thunder trio.
Wade had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine turnovers and nearly finished with an awkward triple-double. James had 23 points and 13 assists and had secured his double-double by the 9:47 mark of the third quarter.